About the Positive Youth Development Institute (PYDI)

  • 1986: The Institute for the Study of Students at Risk at the University of Maine sponsored a statewide event for Alternative Educators. As attention to the issues surrounding student retention grew, the event became known as the Dropout Prevention Conference, which was co-hosted by the Maine Department of Education and the Institute for the Study of Students at Risk.
  • 2006: Staff at the Institute for the Study of Students at Risk presented the Maine Dropout Prevention Guide, which was subsequently used in a number of schools throughout the state.
  • 2008: Maine held a Dropout Summit as part of the national America’s Promise effort. That brought forth a more sophisticated look at research leading to positive youth development and youth telling us they did not want to be identified as failures/as dropouts, as that did not speak to all of whom they were.
  • As the focus of the conference expanded, so did the audience. Growing beyond education, the institute began to include sectors working with youth including afterschool, out of school, juvenile justice, systems of care (e.g. Foster Care Networks), etc., lead to a change in the name to the Positive Youth Development Institute.

We would like to continue these traditions and increase our reach for years to come.  To do that we appeal to you to consider sponsoring the Institute.  As a sponsor you would give us the opportunity to continue to open our doors to not just the educational field, but also the justice system, child welfare, non-profit organizations, businesses, and more. As the African proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” -Henrik Ibsen